May Day marchers seek immigration reform
A march focusing on immigration reform held in Mountain View on May Day had a wider focus thanks to the Occupy movement, with protesters talking about banks' abuses towards the immigrant community.
A group of about 135 people marched from Rengstorff Park to City Hall, first heading down California Street to Showers Drive past Walmart and Target, and then to El Camino Real, sticking to the sidewalk. The group included many Latino families, members of St. Joseph's Church, day workers, Occupy Mountain View members and others.
A brief rally got the march off to a start, including a prayer lead by Fr. Bob Moran of St. Joseph's Church, which helped organize the march with the Day Worker Center of Mountain View and Community In Action, a group of Latino mothers from the Rengstorff neighborhood.
A focus of the march were deportation practices that rip parents away from their American-born kids.
"There's nothing more important than keeping our families together," said state Senate candidate Sally Lieber also addressed the crowd at the end of the march.
The group sung "De Colores," the anthem of the United Farmworkers of America, and held signs saying "reasonable path towards citizenship," "what do we want? justice, dignity, prosperity" and "money for jobs and education, not for racist deportation."
Mountain View was the only city in the county, besides San Jose to hold such an event on May 1, a national day of action for immigrant rights events and Occupy Wall Street protests.
"I see this as very necessary for every small community, to have a way to speak out and let our voice be heard," said Mountain View resident Javier Perez. "This issue is not going to go away."
Perez said it was unreasonable to expect a parent to return to Mexico and risk not being able to get back in the U.S. in order to get citizenship as required by law.
As the group marched past Wells Fargo on Castro Street some began chanting in Spanish in protest of Wells Fargo.
"We should denounce Wells Fargo for supporting Arpaio," said Mountain View resident Isidro Cortes of Joe Arpaio, the Arizona sheriff who is feared by Mexican immigrants and who the justice department has accused of civil rights abuses. Cortes noted that Arpaio has been given a pricey executive suite in an Arizona building Wells Fargo owns.
Banks are "preying on our community," said Joseph Rosas, a San Jose occupy member and candidate for State Assembly. He noted that several large banks are funding payday lenders and pawn shops, not to mention their numerous foreclosures on immigrants who were sold adjustable rate mortgages they could not afford or understand. Some called for help in blocking the foreclosure on an older woman in Redwood City whose home is going to be auctioned soon.
"We can't just say I want citizenship for me and the other people can go to hell," Cortes said. "We also want to stop the foreclosures, we want to stop the war."
Cortes added that people have scapegoated immigrants during the recession. He said to those who think immigrants want to take their jobs: "If they want my job, they can have it."
"The truth is the number of extremists in this country is very small, said organizer Marilu Delgado of Community In Action. "The days of them blocking immigration reform are numbered. Its not a matter of if, it's a matter of when."